Author: Elsie Larson,Crafts,Photo Books & Scrapbooking,Sponsored,

Scrapbooking for beginnersOver the past year I have been slowly easing my way back into the scrapbooking hobby. It started with the revelation that I hadn't printed out photos in several years and that my husband and I had almost no printed photos or albums in our home (yikes!!) I talked about it a little here. I experimented with different ideas and eventually found a method that change my whole perspective on scrapbooking. 

Today, as another installment of our Canon USA collaboration, I want to share the entire process for hunting down, printing out and scrapbooking our memories from our first year of marriage. I made a scrapbook of a whole year of life (a busy one!) in just a couple of weeks. What's funny is that even though I've scrapbooked a LOT in the past, after taking a break for many years I felt like a beginner again. Everything was new to me from my goals to my priorities and even the look and feel I want from my albums. If you're new to scrapbooking I hope this simple guide will help you navigate the waters and create the kick start that you need! 

Step 1: Discover Your Goals

My two goals for my scrapbooks are simple. First, I want to enjoy the process because no matter how fast you do it, it IS time consuming. It should be fun! If I didn't love all of the papers and stickers I would just make photo albums. My second goal is that I want to complete albums. I realized recently that it's not as fun for me if I just make random pages once in a while. I don't have to scrapbook every single photo, but I want to have scrapbooks for each year of our family's life. I want these albums to include all the important milestones and all of our treasured family photos. I also discovered that it's my preference that our photos are heavily dominated by photos and a little lighter on embellishments. 

Your goals and priorities may be different from mine. Before you begin try to define what you want out of the experience. This is also a good time to decide what you want your first album to include. 

Step 2: Choose An Album Size

The second thing I had to do to prepare was finally commit to an album size. In years past I've tried 12x12, 8.5x11, 8x8 and various sizes of mini albums. 12x12 is the easiest because it's standard so it has the biggest variety of supplies available. 

After probably a little too much obsessing I chose 8.5x11. I made this choice for two reasons. First because in the past two years we've worked on two books, the first with a square format and the second with a vertical format. I enjoyed the vertical format far more because I love full bleed photos and I hate cropping them into squares. The second reason might make me sound a little cuckoo because it's so silly, but it really matters to me. I want my albums to fit on our bookshelf, with all the other books, and to not hang off the edge. So 8.5x11 is what I went with. It was a little more challenging to find the supplies and I had to do a little customizing, but it was worth it in the end! 

Which album size do you like most? They all have advantages! 12x12 is the biggest and has the most supplies available in stores. 8.5x11 is awesome because you can print your vertical images full bleed without cropping off much at all. 8x8 is great because it's smaller, faster and you can print full page photos without owning a wide format printer. Mini albums are fun because you can have a lot of variety as you get to start a new book for basically every occasion. It's all good- so choose whichever you feel most comfortable with!

Planning my 8.5x11 layoutsStep 3: Planning Layouts 

Now that you know what kind of book you'll be making, both content and size, you can start planning your layouts. For my first book I wanted to keep it ultra simple focusing on large photos and solutions to mix our instagram photos with our slr photos. 

Above I've sketched out the six most common layouts I used over and over while creating our album. 1-4 are layouts where I was able to print single photos (and collages) perfectly to size so all I had to do was cut them out, adhere them to a sheet of white cardstock and add a few stickers or a handwritten memory. Layout 5 is a fun solution I came  up with for mixing in my Instagram photos. I use page protectors filled with tiny 2x2 squares (meant for coin collections) to store printed Instagram photos and small bits of paper. Layout six is a pocket page that fits my album. 

Something to note when you look at my sketches is that every spot where there is color is a spot for a photo. It's mostly photos! I love this look, but I also love that I was able to squeeeeeeze a year of photos into one album. I didn't even know that was possible! 

Take some time to sketch out basic layouts that suit your album size, photos and leave as little or as much room to journal and embellish as you like!Canon Pro 100 printerStep 4: Printing 

I spent about 24 hours resizing photos in Photoshop, making collages and printing them out onto 13x19-inch photo paper. The Canon PRO-100 was of course great for the quality and rich contrast, but it also made it super easy for my bigger prints. I got CRAZY obsessed. After the first two hours you couldn't separate me from that printer. I actually carried it up (and it's heavy!) to my bedroom, so I could print while we watched our nighttime television shows. It was fun to end up with a giant stack of prints.

A whole year of memories printed at last!I spread the photos out on our giant dining room table (in two layers) to snap this photo. Probably the most satisfying part of this whole process except, of course, sharing the finished album with Jeremy!

Making scrapbook pages
Making scrapbook pagesStep 5: Putting Pages Together 

This step was surprisingly simple. I trimmed my photos, adhered them to white cardstock and slipped them into pocket pages. I wrote a little journaling on most pages, but only wrote out a long story a couple times in the book. 

Here are a few of my favorite pages:

11The title page. I love the idea of having "volumes" for our scrapbooks so I chose to start with our first year of marriage. This is tradition that I plan to continue with future albums.

3Our honeymoon. This is where our story begins. Did I ever tell you guys that I accidentally deleted a flash card with most of the photos from our honeymoon. SO SAD. This is most of what we have so I made a collage of SLR photos mixed with Instagrams to capture the vibe of our honeymoon. Even though we don't have a huge quantity of photos, this spread captures the happiness.

4All of the writing on the first page here was done with my tablet in photoshop before printing it out.

5This page is a collage of photos printed out 8.5x11. I love all photo pages the most. 

66I used photos from our first home tour to create spreads to remember each room. We moved during our second year of marriage, so I'm so thankful to have these now!

8These are mostly photos that were taken for this blog and Instagram photos. I always joke that when I get Jeremy to take photos for the blog, it's really just a way to get photos together. I'm so glad we did. Whatever works!

I love making collages and then printing them as one big photo. It saves so much time and I love the look. What's crazy to me as I look through each page is HOW SAD it would have been if these photos had lived on hard drives forever. I'm so happy they have a place in our home now.

111111Here are the coin pages I was telling you about. I fill them (sporadically, not completely) with 2x2inch photos, bits of patterned paper and little fortune cookie sized notes. This is also a great spot for memorabilia.

1415More pages with big photos. Clearly I'm obsessed. I ended the year with our 1 year anniversary trip. I guess that means it's a little bit more than one year, but whatever- it seemed like a good place to end this book.

1616This is my final page. This constellation paper (and most of the paper show in this book) is from the Sunshine Edition of Project life that we designed (core kit + 12x12 papers). I like ending each album with this simple little thought.

1818And just like that, I made a scrapbook. Complete... sitting on my shelf! I will say that this is more than just a scrapbook, though. This book is the beginning of a collection. It's the end of my mental block that said, "you don't have time for that", and it's something that I'll keep for the rest of my life. You can't say that every day. 

Here's what I learned:

I learned that scrapbooks can be mostly photos, and I love that. I learned that it is possible to make a meaningful album packed with a years worth of memories in just a few weeks. I learned that I can make time for this and it doesn't have to be hard or stressful. Most importantly, this project inspired me to take more photos of our family of two!

Until next time! Elsie 

Credits // Author and Photography: Elsie Larson


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